In this tutorial I’m going to share all of my tips for making a moist and delicious vanilla cake!
First, make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. If they’re refrigerated like butter, eggs, or milk take them out of the fridge three hours before you start baking. When ingredients are cold they don’t mix together easily but at room temperature they’ll incorporate easily, making the cake light and also preventing over-mixing. More on that later! For this tutorial I'll be using my Very Vanilla cake recipe.
Creaming the butter and sugar together is really important because this is the base of your cake batter, and if this mixture is light and fluffy it will make your cake light and fluffy, too!
Creaming takes about two minutes of mixing on medium speed and you’ll notice the butter get lighter and also it will look like it’s expanding.
Now add the vanilla. Most cake recipes will include vanilla and using real vanilla extract will give you the richest flavour. Artificial vanilla is cheaper but doesn’t give you the same results so it’s worth spending a little bit more and buying the real stuff.
Now add the eggs but these should be added one by one, not all together. The reason for this is that you want all of the ingredients to mix together. If you dump the whole bowl of eggs into the batter, it’s more difficult for the butter and sugar to incorporate the eggs than if you add the eggs gradually, one by one. Give each egg about 30 seconds to combine into the batter.
Buttermilk is a great way to add moisture to your cakes. If your recipe uses buttermilk but you don’t have any, you can make your own very quickly and easily by using milk instead. Use the same amount of milk as the buttermilk listed in the ingredients but then take out 1 tablespoon of milk for every cup and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar instead. Leave it for 5 minutes to curdle and then add it instead of buttermilk! My vanilla cake recipe uses oil too, to make the cake extra moist.
Once you start adding the dry ingredients like flour, the way you mix your batter is really important. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl before adding them to the mixer and that will spread the rising agents evenly through the batter and through your cake layers. When you add the flour to the batter, the gluten in the flour starts to develop and if you overman the batter, you’ll make it tough and dense. It’s super important that after you add the flour, you don’t over-mix the batter. What does this mean? Only mix the batter until you can’t see individual ingredients anymore. As soon as the flour has incorporated into the rest of the batter, turn the mixer off.
Another quick tip for a moist cake is to scrape down to the bottom of the bowl with a spatula after mixing in each ingredient. The reason for this is that ingredients can get stuck at the bottom of the bowl, where the paddle or beater can’t reach. If you don’t scrape these up to mix into the rest of the batter, you’ll have gritty chunks of melted sugar in your cakes or little dots of clumps of flour.
Divide your batter into cake pans and spread the batter with your spatula so that the cakes are flat and level. I teach how to covert this recipe into different shapes and sizes of cakes and different quantities of cupcakes in my Basics of Cake MasterCourse.
Tap the pans a few times on the counter to knock out air bubbles and then bake them until you can poke the top gently and the cake will slowly rise back up. If you over-bake them they’ll dry out. Leave the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes before you turn them out and let them cool completely, for three hours, before you level or divide them.
I teach every step of making a cake, from mixing and baking to making fillings and frostings, leveling and diving layers, assembling cakes, frosting and decorating, storing, transporting and serving in my Basics of Cake MasterCourse on my online cake school.
You can also watch a video of these 7 tips for a moist vanilla cake.
Thanks alot for the tips! What speed do you use for the stand mixer thoughout the process?
Medium speed to cream the butter and sugar and then the lowest spin to incorporate the eggs and flour